Innovation helps women business owners thrive
In Delaware's oldest settlement, Lovlie and husband Matthew own Penn's Place shops – a small business incubator that houses a menagerie of female artisans. Only one male operates a business inside 206 Delaware St., a building that dates to 1682.
The growth in female-owned businesses, as seen in Old New Castle, may be one of the few silver linings amid a lukewarm economy.
"Given the economy, women are seeing an opportunity to move forward and have their own business while they're still taking care of families and everything else," Lovlie said. "They see the opportunity as a possibility. ... We are in the age of innovation and all kinds of wonderful businesses are being born outside of the usual model from the past."
The business plan evolved from three phases, all operational today: open a small business incubator for artisans in 2010, anchor the operation with a coffee shop to drive traffic by the end of 2010 and in May 2013, convert a two-door garage in the rear of the property into an intimate cabaret space, to also be used for bridal showers, corporate meetings and retreats.
Delaware has an estimated 21,200 women-owned firms, employing 18,100 workers, in addition to the owner, and generating $3.4 billion in revenues.
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